Whether you are getting ready to open a new shared site, expand your current client base, or attract new donors, it is important to develop a compelling message and a strong set of communication vehicles to motivate prospective participants, families, community organizations, donors, staff and volunteers to support your program. Even a wonderful program can’t survive if no one knows about it!
The concept of bringing generations together under one roof is relatively new in many communities and therefore presents both opportunities and challenges. In a time when loneliness has become an epidemic and ageism is negatively affecting all generations, highlighting the benefits of intergenerational relationships is a powerful message. Yet, parents and caregivers of older adults may be reluctant to have their family members engage in intergenerational programs due to health concerns. Donors may be cautious about investing in a new idea about which they know very little.
Marketing refers to a set of communication strategies created to influence key stakeholders. Marketing is not a single activity, but a PROCESS that needs to be sustained over time. It must be aligned with your organization’s vision, mission, and strategic plan. Even though you may have a person or department who is officially responsible for marketing, remember that EVERYONE is a marketer for your organization.
A strong marketing plan can help you:
- Distinguish your organization’s purpose from other nonprofits
- Generate earned revenue through programs and services
- Develop relationships with other organizations
- Expand your client base
- Attract funders
- Recruit staff and volunteers
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5.1 Initial Marketing Steps
EXAMPLE: X Intergenerational Center
Determine Your Overall Approach
A major decision you will have to make is related to your identity and the primacy of intergenerational engagement to your mission. There are multiple approaches you can take in marketing intergenerational shared sites, with varied emphases on the intergenerational component:
- Focus on the uniqueness of your site as a place that intentionally builds intergenerational connections, while providing high-quality services to children and older adults.
- Market the child-care and aging programs separately, focusing on the quality of each program and mentioning intergenerational activities as an added benefit.
- Blend the two approaches, highlighting both the intergenerational dimension and the age-specific components.
Here are some descriptions found on the websites of existing shared sites. Take a moment to review them. Think about what you want to emphasize as you begin to develop your marketing plan.
Conduct a Marketing Audit
If you have operated a shared site, adult services, or child day care for a while, to what extent are your current communications strategies helping you achieve your goals (e.g. increased enrollment, funding, community partnerships, volunteers)?
Are all of your strategies aligned and your messages consistent?
Are there things you can do to further highlight the intergenerational aspect of your shared site?
The following are some tools and materials you may want to review before moving forward:
- “Branding”: Names/acronyms, taglines, logo, web domains, and structural relationships. Consider trademarking your brand to protect its integrity.
- Digital tools: Website, email lists, e-newsletters, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), blogs, audio and video, presentations, apps, and other virtual resources
- Collateral materials: Printed and other tangible resources such as brochures, flyers, newsletters, reports, and other take-aways or swag
- Concepts: Mission statements, intermediate goals, audience identification and targeting, messaging
- Public relations efforts: Story ideas and development, media relations, quotes, press releases and story pitches, graphics and data, media events/actions, and results metrics
- Paid advertising: TV/radio, newspaper, shoppers, specialty publications for seniors or parents, digital ads, listings in directories or on local blogs (parenting or eldercare)
- In-person efforts: Sharing your collateral materials at community health fairs, street fairs, parent resource fairs, or health professionals’ conferences; speaking at senior citizen centers, church groups, service organizations, or meetings of other nonprofits
For more information, click HERE.